Sunday, 3 November 2013

Making Magic

With Halloween out of the way for another year, I am firmly set in C-word mode.

No. Not THAT C-word.


I am particularly excited this year as E seemingly enjoyed last year a lot, and a year on she'll be even more a part of it. She enjoyed the excitement, the paper, seeing family... And Christmas dinner was so tasty she sat happily in her highchair for two hours! I think we plan to go back to my home for the first time we've been together, which means obligatory Midnight Mass at the Cathedral and even better, not having to cook.

When I think back to Christmas as a child, there are specific traditions or rituals that I remember that made it even more magical, memorable and special, and I'm keen to build up these traditions for my children now.

We made a start last year, but didn't go so overboard in light of E only being 9 months old. We had new jammies, and we bought Christmas (or "seasonal" if you're not so much into reindeer) jumpers for Christmas day and we started documenting that ale and mince pies were indeed left out and consumed by Father Christmas. But I think traditions can go beyond that, and so we started a new family tradition this year: Mixing up the Christmas cake together (and sneaking the odd amaretto soaked raisin in for a snack!).

Now wrapped up ready for icing in the week before Christmas! 
After a little research amongst some mummy friends of mine, I put together my top traditions...

One friend bakes hams to give as gifts on Christmas eve and makes truffles with the children on Boxing Day. Another always receives a gift from her mum through CAFOD and is keen to continue this tradition with her own children. I was told of lots of examples of new pyjamas, slippers, jumpers... A friend whose children are aged between one and 19 still insists that no one goes downstairs without her go ahead and takes a photo of them all waiting at the top of the stairs! What a lovely way to document a family growing up - and proof that even big kids aren't ever that old! Lots of families have a favourite Christmas film that they watch together, while others have staple breakfasts that they share together every year... And a tradition that I'd never thought of being an only child was that of the youngest putting the fairy on the top of the tree. We don't have a fairy, but I'm going to get one this year, just so E gets one shot at it before her brother or sister arrives!!

My ultimate favourite came from Charlie over at Learning Lessons in Mummyography. Of course it did.I shouldn't have expected anything less! She has started a tradition that I am in love with and completely pinching! 
We decided last year we want to make christmas about giving, so every year (starting last year) we fill up a change bottle and then give it to our local hospice. We think it'll give us a good chance to talk to Euna about how lucky we are.

Christmas for me is far more about giving that receiving. I love watching the faces of those I have bought or made for... And I hate opening presents in front of people! I've always been of the spend £2 and buy the perfect gift than spend £100 and get it wrong mentality, and hope that my children will always be grateful for what they receive, irrespective of size or cost. But Charlie's tradition is a beautiful way of teaching about being selfless, humility,giving, being fortunate and helping others, and we've decided that we'll be keeping a change bottle during 2014 for Cransley Hospice, who cared for my late Mother-in-law so wonderfully in her last days.

What are your Christmas traditions? Will this be your first Christmas as a parent and what do you intend to do? I'd love to know!

And seeing as I photodumpted our "mix it up Monday" photos above, I could at least share the recipe, right? It's based on Delia's failsafe recipe, except I use amaretto (trust me - it's DIVINE!) and the following measurements of fruit:

800g dried mixed fruit

100g cranberries

100g of mixed cherries and berries.



  1. Oh you're really getting me in the Christmas spirit! We were just talking last year about how we didn't really have any special family traditions of our own yet, and how we wanted to keep Christmas day small and just with the family this year so we could develop some Christmas magic of our own! One thing I'd like to do is give the kids a little tree ornament every year to hang on the tree, so by the time they leave home they'll have a little collection they can take with them, to remind them of home. Nice to find your blog via Magic Moments!

  2. YAY YAY YAY you are so so like me ..... i love Christmas and i am wrapped tagged and ready to go!!

    we decorate biscuits on Christmas eve for Father Christmas :-)

    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments

  3. OMG I am so in awe of you being so organised! I've started on the gift task for my 3yr old, but that is all!! #MagicMoments

  4. I can't think Christmas until after our Bonfire party tonight but then I am right into all the Christmas traditions. A great time of year. Popping over from Magic Moments

  5. I'm excited about Christmas too... I always am. :)

    Thank you for linking to Super Sunday Sync!

  6. There are some really lovely ideas and traditions-in-the-making there, love the idea of filling up the bottle with change for the hospice.

  7. This is lovely - not long to go til it's Christmas :-)

  8. Before I became a Mum I really wasn't keen on Christmas, I think it was years of travelling between parents that did it for me but I'm determined to make it fun from now on in. Last year my little girl was too young to really understand but we've already started one tradition which is the Christmas dress-up outfits! I can't wait to start some more traditions with her and her siblings - there's some lovely ideas here. I also plan on Santa sending her a letter each year and leaving a trail of glitter to show he's visited :)

  9. Looks like you had lots of fun making the cake :) and what a lovely tradition to start. It's a great way of showing children how lucky they are from a young age. The true magic of Christmas can easily be lost in the over-commercialistion of the holiday season. I'm totally with you on spending less money and finding the perfect gift (thank goodness for eBay and charity shops!) We made salt-dough decorations last year and the year before, which was lots of fun and we have kept the best couple from each year, so I think that will inevitably become our little tradition #MagicMoments

  10. I love Christmas and even more so since becoming a mum. We are breaking with tradition this year and having Christmas dinner out. That cake looks yummy! Something I never attempted before.....maybe one day! Popping by via #MagicMoments

  11. Love the cake baking idea.I have always loved Christmas but our first one with Harry wasn't great as he has ear infections on and off for about 4 months. I'm hoping we will have the chance for a proper celebration this year with traditions, new and old.

  12. Love the annual photo idea. We do mince pies and amaretto for Santa. H loves helping make Christmas puddings.

  13. We love christmas.
    On xmas eve we make a den in the lounge and all snuggle in and watch a christmas film together (in the hope of keeping the children calm).
    Like you photo idea
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

  14. Haven't started on Xmas yet, but got son's December birthday party booked yesterday. Hopping over via #LetKidsBeKids and I've given you a follow on Twitter and Bloglovin

  15. Lovely traditions :) We are starting to develop a few, but since moving to the US, some have had to change slightly :) Last years addition was an Elf on the Shelf. We also had a photo with Santa, which we will do again this year :) Popping over from #LetkidsBeKids

  16. Christmas is so exciting and we are all itching for it to come a little quicker this year, haha! What fabulous traditions! #magicmoments x


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